Born: May 8, 2011
Nikki is a blind, blue merle Australian Shepherd dog we adopted in April of 2012, one month short of her first birthday. She had been rescued by New Beginnings Rescue (thank you Ginnette) a few months earlier.
Nikki is the result of a merle to merle breeding and, as a consequence, she was born blind. When breeding two merles, one in four puppies can be born blind and/or deaf. A lot of these dogs end up in shelters and many are euthanized because they have special needs and are not easily adopted out.
Before coming into rescue, Nikki (and her sister Charlotte who is also sight impaired) spent a large part of her first year living outside with nine other dogs in the Montreal, Quebec area. She had very limited human contact and had to fend for herself against the other dogs she was living with.
Nikki was placed in foster care with Sandra Czarny of Eweturn Aussies. At the time, we had three of our own Aussies that we were training for sledding (among other things). Sandra suggested we try Nikki to complete our dog sled team. We were a little hesitant at first given her "disability" but decided to give her a try. We never looked back! With careful training, Nikki has become an important part of our sled team. She loves to run and at times can be very competitive!
Despite her poor start in life, Nikki is a very affectionate dog. She absolutely LOVES people and wrestling with other dogs. She has quickly adapted to living indoors and to using stairs. She is a very smart and confident dog and a very important member of our family. She's a dog just like the others and that's exactly how she is treated.
She has her own personality, she plays with other dogs, she "argues" with other dogs and can stand her own ground. Life would not be the same without her. Nikki is currently working on basic obedience and she also trains and competes in dog sledding.
We would like to thank Ginnette Wilson and Sandra Czarny for the role they played in rescuing Nikki and for sending her our way. Dogs with special needs can hold jobs like other dogs and make great family pets; people just need to adapt and be creative in their training.
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
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